Former SEC head coach could succeed Mike Leach at Washington State
With Mike Leach taking the Mississippi State job, another Power 5 head coaching job is now open: Washington State. The Cougars could reportedly look to a former SEC head coach as Leach’s successor.
Bruce Feldman tweeted that he’s hearing Jim McElwain could be a target for Wazzu. McElwain is currently the head coach at Central Michigan. The Chippewas had an impressive first-year around turnaround McElwain, going from 1-11 in 2018 to 8-6 in 2019.
McElwain is 52-33 overall as a head coach at Colorado State (2012-14), Florida (2015-17) and CMU (2019-present). It would not be the first time a Group of 5 -turnaround has landed McElwain a Power 5 job. At Colorado State, the Rams were 4-8 in Year 1 under McElwain and improved to 8-6 in Year 2 and 10-2 in Year 3, helping land McElwain the Florida job.
At Florida, McElwain became the first coach in SEC history to go to the conference championship game in each of his first two seasons (2015, 2016). In 2017, however, McElwain was fired midseason when the Gators dropped to 3-4 after losing to Georgia. According to various reports, as well as comments made by UF athletic director Scott Stricklin, McElwain’s unverified claim of Gators players and coaches receiving death threats, Florida’s on-field struggles, strength and conditioning issues and McElwain’s strained relationship with UF administration all contributed to the midseason parting of ways with a negotiated buyout.
After his UF tenure, McElwain was wide receivers coach at Michigan under Jim Harbaugh for the 2018 season before taking the CMU job. Prior to being a head coach, McElwain was a long-time assistant, including serving as Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator at Alabama from 2008-11. McElwain began his coaching career at Eastern Washington in 1985 as a graduate assistant and then as quarterbacks and wide receivers coach from 1987-94.
Hearing that Jim McElwain could be a target for #WAZZU. Took over a 1-11 team and got #CMU into the MAC title game and has been coach of the year in three different conferences. And has deep ties in the Pacific Northwest.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 9, 2020